Access to quality mental health medication management (MM) in the United States is limited, even among those with employment-based health insurance. This implementation, feasibility, and outcome study sought to design and evaluate an evidence-based telemental health MM service using a collaborative care model (CoCM).
CoCM MM was available to adult employees/dependents through their employer benefits, in addition to therapy. Outcomes included Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) and the Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7 (GAD-7) collected at baseline and throughout participation. This analysis was not deemed to be human subjects research by the Western Institutional Review Board.
Over 17 months, 212 people enrolled and completed >2 assessments; the enrollees were 58.96% female with average age of 32.00 years (standard deviation [SD] = 7.38). In people with moderate to severe depression or anxiety, PHQ-9 and GAD-7 scores reduced by an average of 7.27 (SD = 4.80) and 6.71 (SD = 5.18) points after at least 12 ± 4 weeks in the program. At 24 ± 4 weeks, the PHQ-9 and GAD-7 reductions were on average 7.17 (SD = 5.00) and 6.03 (SD = 5.37), respectively. Approximately 65.88% of participants with either baseline depression or anxiety had a response on either the PHQ-9 or GAD-7 at 12 ± 4 weeks and 44.71% of participants experienced remission; at 24 ± 4 weeks, 56.41% had response and 41.03% experienced remission.
An evidence-based CoCM telemedicine service within an employee behavioral health benefit is feasible and effective in reducing anxiety and depression symptoms when using measurement-based care. Widespread implementation of a benefit like this could expand access to evidence-based mental health MM.